Using spy stories to tell larger tales about identity is becoming a popular trope. Most recently, I’m thinking of how Lauren Wilkinson used the genre to talk about black identity against the specter of white imperialism. Rosalie Knecht does it in a different way with a lesbian woman.
There are two stories running concurrently with one another: flashbacks to Vera’s time leading up to joining the CIA and her time in Argentina trying to run counterintelligence on KGB factions attempting to facilitate a communist-led coup.
Both are satisfying in their own ways and how they abut one another. The flashbacks develop Vera’s character, showing her tenacity in trying to live as an openly gay woman despite the repressive nature of the world. Usually when stories rotate between the present and flashbacks, I get annoyed with the former but in this instance, it worked out nicely to frame the theme of hiding in plain sight.
The spy stuff was an entertaining examination of Argentinian student life in the 60s combined with the creeping energy of a spy thriller. I was excited to see what came next, especially as Vera’s timeline was changing on the other side. The end result was…something. I liked it as I felt like Rosalie Knecht did a quality job of showing, not telling.
It seems as if this book is meant to start a series. Book two was out now. But this was a good enough story on its own. The writer has a great sense of the character and what she wants to do with the story. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.